Now that we are officially a week into October, cold and flu season is just a turkey, pumpkin and snowfall away!
What are you doing to prevent those lingering runny noses, coughs and days off of school and work?
Here are 5 ways to prevent colds and flu this season:
- Stay active: Once the cold weather sets in, it is hard to leave your cozy home to go for walks after dinner, or play outside. Try attending the local public swim or join a fitness class to keep you motivated throughout the season. Exercise does wonders to keep your immune system sharp!
- Alternating hot and cold showers: At the end of your hot shower in the morning, turn the tap to cold for about 20-30 seconds. Although it sounds unappealing, the change in temperature stimulates your immune system and helps protect you against colds and flu. It also helps to wake you up, especially on those early, dark winter mornings!
- Take a herbal supplement: Herbs such as condonopsis and astragalus are adaptogens -herbs that support the body throughout stress and help to prevent illness. A combination of these herbs can be useful to take throughout the winter season, especially if you work in a vulnerable setting like a school, nursing home or hospital. Deep Immune by St. Francis Herb Farm is a good option (there is even a kid’s version) or try something more traditional like Change of Season Soup
- Sleep: It is especially crucial to get the right number of hours sleep during the winter months. When you feel tired, get to bed! Trying to force yourself to stay up is never a good idea. If sleep is currently an issue for you, it is important to start addressing it now before cold and flu season starts.
- Eat Well: It is easy to indulge in treats this time of year, with homemade pumpkin and apple pies at Thanksgiving, and Christmas baking set to start in a couple months. Remember to include 8-10 servings of fruit and vegetables in your daily diet. That doesn’t mean you have to have salad everyday! Add baked squash to your dinner instead of potatoes, or try using cauliflower instead of pasta.
Most importantly, take care of yourself and listen to your body! If you start feeling run down, have a healthy dinner, take a shower (ending with cold water, of course) and get to bed. You will thank yourself in the morning!
Dr. King, ND